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Control/Dimming Colortran Innovator - Do people really like this?

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Sayen, Apr 11, 2009.

  1. Sayen

    Sayen Active Member

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    Location:
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    Tuesday I have a meeting to propose to the financial people that we purchase a new lighting console, and convert our Innovator into a paperweight. I'm on my fourth version of the Innovator 600, and am continually disappointed and frustrated by the poor software and design of this console. What I'm wondering is why people like this console? I've seen several posts in the last few weeks where people were almost cheerful about the existence of their console.

    For straight conventional lighting control, the console is decent. All four that I have used have a tendency to lock up when using the number pad, but they did do what they were supposed to do. For movers or any other DMX controlled devices, the console is hit or miss. It won't record movers into cues reliably, or effects, and that to me defeats the entire purpose of this particular console - blending conventional control with basic movers.

    Don't even start down the road of a lack of 'Record Only' function. Once you assign DMX devices, they're programmed into every subsequent cue, sub, or group, whether you like it or not. If you remove or change a device, it often involves the console automatically deleting your cue or sub.

    It's the same price as an ION (ballpark) or equivalent Strand, but has almost twice the footprint on my desk. Only uses floppy disks for data transfer, and only stores on the console one show at a time. Even the keyboard connection on the back is non-standard (whatever the name is, it's one size larger than a PS2 connection).

    Leviton tech support might call you back the same day you call for help, but the last time I called I had to train their guy on how to access the screen I was having trouble with. Needless to say he was not able to help me.

    My own frustrations stem from lockups, programming difficulties, and the tendency for the memory to do strange things with DMX devices. I've had submasters swap, or effects run different channels than those programmed, and devices just flat out refuse to run in cues.

    This is for a community theater with moving devices, not the school where I work full time.

    I'm not trying to blast the console or the brand, but I really am curious why people like this console - and maybe there's something I'm missing that I should be aware of before my meeting this week. From a management perspective one console is the same as another, so they're going to grill me a bit.
     
  2. 2mojo2

    2mojo2 Active Member

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    Location:
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    We are thrilled to see our Colortran Innovator scheduled for replacement this summer.
    I don't know yet if Strand or ETC will be supplying our next console, but we will not miss the lockups, the unscheduled blackouts, the bizarre programming, the useless manual. Good riddance to bad rubbish!
     
  3. wfor

    wfor Member

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    Location:
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    I used a Palette once. Didn't like it at all.

    A bit like running a spreadsheet with ten different USB controllers.

    Ion all the way.
     
  4. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    Occupation:
    Teacher
    Location:
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    In answer to your question - yes. I like my Innovator for one reason: It's what I have and all I can have. Really, I would looooove to have an Ion, Element, Palette, whatever, but I don't. And compared my other options, a SmartFade and an old Leprecon 24 channel two scene present, my Innovator allows me to do much, much more, much much easier.

    So yes, I like my Innovator. However, I do not have as many issues with mine as you did with your four... :cool: If I did, we would be looking to replace rather quickly.
     
  5. David Ashton

    David Ashton Active Member

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    Occupation:
    truck driver
    Location:
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    Yes, I like it, I like the build quality and the long faders and the fact that I don't need to remember menu sequences to get anywhere and the way it can be a really simple manual desk or add submasters or do a whole show in the memory section.All the units I have had have been stable and reliable.
    This is just as well as the back up is awful, Colortran really seem to lack any idea of customer relations and their distributor choice leaves a lot to be desired, I am trying not to libel the local company, but I bypass them and buy from friends in the US.And the moving light section is not great, it is a pity that they abandoned development of their software.I like a big desk with lots of faders, and I'm not alone there, note the MA 2.
    I certainly wouldn't want to try to make a living repairing them, all the local units are very reliable.So just send them over to me and I'll take care of them.
     
  6. MNBallet

    MNBallet Active Member

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    Location:
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    I can see your complaints about the 600. I own a Innovator 24/48 and just love it. I love having the trackball and my Meteor Ellipscan and can use a source 4 on the first electric as a followspot. I have also grown wth my movers and LED effects. For really complex shows I use a laptop with AMDJ software with the laptop output going the the DMX in of the board. I then can use the laptop to run some effects or let the Innovator take control. It's all about what you like, and if you got a good board. My board has been very good to me over 10+ years of touring with it.

    Ken Pogin
    Production / Tour Manager
    Minnesota Ballet
     
  7. bhallerm

    bhallerm Member

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    Ken, I would love to chat with you and find out what I'm doing wrong with our 48/96. We plugged in a 3 pin DMX to ours tonight and it automatically reset ALL our patching to 1 to 1 erasing a couple hours of patching one of my students did. We open tomorrow night. Thank god the cues are still there...as far as we can tell. This is one thing in a laundry list of quirks that this board has had. I had it checked out and it is electronically sound, but still pulls stuff like this on us every couple weeks.

    BJH
     
  8. NickJones

    NickJones Active Member

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    Location:
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    I like that idea! We have a 1970's console, that I think is legendary, but, after nearly 30 years in service, it retires by the end of this year. I intend to frame it. We had rehearsals today in one of our spaces, the one where the Precept lives. I posted about 10 minutes ago, and got onto the topic of some things the Precept got up to today.
    You were saying you have problems.....
    Nick
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2009
  9. MNBallet

    MNBallet Active Member

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    pluging in a cable should not mess with the software patch at all. You did mention that you plugged in a 3 pin DMX......did you know that there is a little switch above the 3 pin to assign it to which DMX universe you want it to be? Say you had some movers and such patched into universe C, but the 3 pin switch was on A.....your movers won't work, and any channels to dimmers on universe A will wreak havoc on your toys, making you wonder what the heck was going on.

    Again....just plugging or unplugging a DMX cable should not (will not) affect your software patch.
     
  10. Sayen

    Sayen Active Member

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    Location:
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    I don't know enough about the company, but I wonder if there is a difference between times when consoles were manufactured and the quality of the console. I'm on number 4, and it's driving me crazy, and definitely is not reliable. Yesterday it pulled a new one - the console locked up, and wouldn't restart fully until I did a complete reset of the console, losing all of my memory and settings. I was in the middle of programming, so I hadn't done a back up yet. Leviton tech support just told me not to do a complete reset more than once every 6 months, since apparently that screws things up too.

    I didn't realize how much the console was getting to me. I just reread my first post, and I'm not quite that frustrated.

    My pitch went well. The console was nice enough to lock up mid demonstration with the money people, and now they've requested that I submit some alternative consoles for purchase - and that's the easy part.
     
  11. David Ashton

    David Ashton Active Member

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    Occupation:
    truck driver
    Location:
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    I did have a problem 2-3 years ago when a version of the software messed up, a change to a different version solved it, I can't remember whether it was a older or newer version we went to, and there was a free hardware upgrade on earlier boards which you may not have received.I certainly would not risk "upgrading" the software as the version I use has proven reliable and I don't trust the current programmers.
     
  12. chris325

    chris325 Active Member

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    Occupation:
    Master Electrician
    Location:
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    I can't stand using the Innovator. It's incredibly slow, terrible with DMX, and takes up a huge amount of space.. I'm hoping ours is replaced with an ION within the next year. (Or gets fried by lightning, like our old sound board.)
     

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